On November 6, 1998, President Bill Clinton declares that part of Detroit will become an “Automobile National Heritage Area.” The designation restricted land use and drew attention to what Michigan Congressman John Dingell called “the automobile’s contribution to our history and economic strength and the role of organized labor in that history.”
The area, the 18th of 40 National Heritage Areas in the U.S., has been renamed the MotorCities National Heritage Area. The Heritage region covers 10,000 square miles and is home to more than 6 million people. “Not just ‘Any Place, USA’ can be a National Heritage Area,” the National Park Service notes. “It requires a unique story that is important to the heritage of America and an act of Congress to become a National Heritage Area. It encourages residents and visitors to recognize, celebrate, and share with others that they are part of a region where great things happened and continue to happen in ways that shape and mol d America.”
There are almost 1,200 auto-related sites in the region, more than any other place in the world. These include the Ford world headquarters in Dearborn, the childhood home of the groundbreaking automaker Preston Tucker, several classic-car museums, old union halls and iconic bars, and countless factories, machine shops and assembly plants for all kinds of cars and trucks.